JOHANNESBURG, South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane will hold a press conference in Pretoria on Friday, following his deportation from Zambia.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Maimane returned here Thursday night after he was kicked out of Lusaka. He had travelled to the Zambian capital to attend the treason trial of Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) leader has been under house arrests for several weeks after he was accused of obstructing Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

The DA, South Africa’s biggest opposition party DA, has condemned the development, saying it is stark contrast to the spirit of Africa Day Thursday and “an act akin to the tactics of the Apartheid government”.

The DA leader arrived in Zambia earlier Thursday to attend and observe the treason trial of Hichilema at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court Friday. He was there to show support to Hichilema who it feels is being unduly persecuted by his government, and to show the DA’s commitment to a human-rights-based foreign policy.

Maimane had strongly denounced what it considers as trumped-up charges against Hichilema, and had condemned South Africa’s African national Congress (ANC) government for not yet taking a stand against the treason charges against Hichilema.

Upon arrival at Lusaka airport, Zambian Police boarded the aircraft, aggressively confronted Maimane, and took away his private cell phone.

“We have taken this matter up urgently with the Ministry of International Relations, and we expect that they will dispatch South African diplomats to (Lusaka’s) Kenneth Kaunda Airport immediately. The South Africa government has the right and the duty to issue a demarche, or diplomatic order, and we expect that they will do so,” said Maimane.

“It is a deeply shameful day for the Republic of Zambia, when a Leader of the Opposition from South Africa cannot pass freely into the country, especially on Africa Day. But we will not be deterred.”